More efforts needed to get hydropower on track with Sustainable Development Scenarios

Although hydropower generation increased by more than 3% in 2018, capacity additions declined for the fifth consecutive year, putting hydroelectricity “off track” with the Sustainable Development Scenarios.

This is just one conclusion of the International Energy Agency’s latest Tracking Clean Energy Progress report.

To meet the Sustainable Development Scenarios — which represent a pathway to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, deliver universal energy access and significantly reduce air pollution — hydropower must maintain an average generation increase of 2.5% through 2030, which requires continuous growth in new-build capacity, IEA says.

The downward trend in new hydro development, with growth 40% below the 43 GW of capacity commissioned in 2013 when global additions peaked, is expected to continue due mainly to less large project development in China and Brazil.

Overall, this assessment of clean energy transitions finds that the vast majority of technologies and sectors are failing to keep pace with long-term goals. Of the 45 energy technologies and sectors assessed in the latest report, only seven are on track with IEA’s SDS.

Some clean energy technologies showed major progress last year. Energy storage is now “on track” as new installations doubled, led by Korea, China, the U.S. and Germany. Solar PV remains on track with a 31% increase in generation — representing the largest absolute growth in generation among renewable sources.

Given the urgency and scale of actions needed for clean energy transitions around the world, this year’s TCEP features much greater emphasis on recommended actions for governments, industry and other key actors in the global energy system. The analysis also includes in-depth analysis on how to address more than 100 key innovation gaps across all sectors and technologies.

TCEP provides a comprehensive, rigorous and up-to-date expert analysis of clean energy transitions across a full range of technologies and sectors. It draws on IEA’s understanding of markets, modelling and energy statistics to track and assess progress on technology deployment and performance, investment, policy, and innovation.

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